Classes: About & Enrollment Information

We offer online classes to help you deepen your understanding of Transformative Language Arts, explore the craft of various genres and arts related to TLA, and develop your livelihood, community work, and service related to TLA.

Designed and taught by leading teachers, transformative language artists and activists, and master facilitators (want to be one of them?), these classes offer you ample opportunities to grow your art of words, your business and service, and your conversation with your life work.

The online nature of the classes allows you to participate from anywhere in the world (provided you have internet access) at any time of the day while, and at the same time, the intimate and welcoming atmosphere of the classes helps students find community, inspiration, and greater purpose.

While each class is unique to the teacher's style, all classes include hands-on activities (writing, storytelling, theater, spoken word, visual arts, music and/or other prompts), plus great resources, readings, and guidance. We use the online educational platform, Wet Ink for our classes, and many combine in-person meetings on Zoom and asynchronous gatherings via Wet Ink:

  • Our Community Online Classes have a set period of time, ranging from one day to eight weeks with a small cohort of typically 5 to 25 people. Every Wednesday a new weekly module opens for you to engage with on your own time, with forums and opportunities to share, interact, and receive feedback from peers and the teacher. If the teacher wants to schedule a live meeting, they will coordinate directly with enrolled participants. Classes remain open and available to enrolled participants for at least a week after the class end date.

Enrollment Cost

Classes are priced by the number of weeks they run, and members can register at the discounted member tuition rates. (For example, members pay $255 for a 6-week course, while non-members pay $295.)

Each registration is for one participant only, and all classes, unless arrangements are approved beforehand by the teacher and the TLA Network coordinator, are for people age 18 and up.

Cancellation & Refund Policy

Cancellations: A nonrefundable fee of 10% is included in each registration. There are no cancellations after the class begins. For the purposes of cancellation, the class beginning date is defined as the start date published by TLAN on the class registration page.

Low Enrollment Cancellations: Classes that do not meet a minimum enrollment may be canceled a minimum of 3 days prior to the first class meeting with full refunds for all registrants.

Incomplete: Students seeking the certificate in TLA Foundations who cannot complete a class due to circumstances out of their control may be granted a discounted registration on the next available offering of that class. To be eligible for the discount students must communicate their circumstance to the teacher as soon as possible.


Upcoming Classes

    • 05 June 2024
    • 16 July 2024
    • Online
    • 10
    Register

      

    "If we don’t strike a careful balance between candor and sensitivity, we run the risk of exploiting traumatic experiences rather than creating opportunities for healing."

    Many of us use writing to process difficult experiences and past traumas. Such writing can be beneficial not only for the writer, but the reader as well – allowing those who have experienced trauma to feel understood and validated.

    However, this is delicate work that requires careful intention. We don’t necessarily want to be “confessional” or gratuitously graphic; nor should we attempt to spare audiences from difficult moments by obscuring them with metaphor or ambiguity. If we don’t strike a careful balance between candor and sensitivity, we run the risk of exploiting traumatic experiences rather than creating opportunities for healing.  

    Using the principles of trauma-informed practice, this class will explore approaches to writing about challenging topics – such as abuse, assault, suicide, mental illness, and other sensitive issues – in ways that make the work honest, affirming, and safe for readers to feel seen rather than sensationalized. 

    Week by Week

    Week 1: Introduction to the class & the topic

    We’ll begin by introducing ourselves and establishing a common understanding of “hard things” and “trauma-informed writing.” Our discussion will focus on difficult subjects that we have both read about and struggled with in our own writing. Participants will be invited to consider a particular project (or projects) to focus on for the duration of the class.

    Week 2: Writing to be Sensitive

    As we begin exploring trauma-informed writing, we’ll discuss how to approach projects with self-awareness and how to set expectations for readers. We’ll discuss how unconscious biases, internalized assumptions, and/or cultural expectations can affect our writing and our readers. We’ll explore strategies for recognizing and resolving our own blind spots and limitations. Finally, we’ll examine examples of trigger warnings and other external/pre-narrative cues to help readers prepare for encountering our difficult material.

    Week 3: Writing to Affirm

    Writing about traumatic experiences requires honesty, clarity, specificity, and fullness. Weeks 3 & 4 will include writing exercises that challenge us to move closer to the difficult materials, rather than pulling back from the details. This week, we’ll focus on showing these experiences by focusing on the body’s sensations and physical reactions. 

    Week 4: Writing to Affirm, cont. 

    One of the greatest challenges in writing hard things is to make them more than just “hard things.” This week’s exercises will ask us to acknowledge the multiplicity of emotions that coexist in the presence/aftermath of trauma or difficult experiences. By including feelings like desire, humor, apathy, contentment, or excitement, we give our writing about difficult topics a fullness that honors the human experience. 

    Week 5: Writing to be Responsive

    As we write about difficult topics, it is important that we not only recognize our own assumptions and expectations, but those that exist within the larger culture as well. There are many tropes and conventions that do a disservice to those who have actually lived through trauma or painful experiences. We will look at good and bad examples of this and discuss strategies for recognizing and resisting writing patterns that may unfold almost unconsciously.  

    Week 6. Writing to be Responsive, cont.

    Writing about hard things isn’t necessarily enough. We have to think about how we present those things and whether we are reinforcing potentially harmful patterns. What’s more, this work gives us an opportunity to go a step further and write toward an optimistic reality. In our final week, we’ll explore ways that our writing can not just explore difficult topics but also model the kind of response to those topics we’d like to see, without being unrealistic or overly idealized. 

    Who Should Take This Class

    Writers of any type would benefit from this class, especially if they are interested in or practicing writing about traumatic experiences or sensitive topics. Even if trauma is not a central component to a writer's work, many would benefit from better understanding the impact that even "ancillary" trauma (something in a character's or subject's background or something that is part of a sub plot) could have on readers. The class is appropriate for writers of all genres, but the material will be largely focused on creative writers, with an emphasis on fiction and poetry.

    Format

    This class will offer a weekly two-hour Zoom meeting from 7-9pm EDT (UTC -4). Click here to convert to your time zone. The zoom meeting day of the week is proposed to be either a Monday or a Tuesday and will be determined in conversation with the people who register. Zoom meetings will begin either June 10 or 11, 2024, based on the day of week chosen by the class. Zoom sessions will be recorded and class materials will also be shared in the classroom platform Wet Ink

    About the Facilitator

    Autumn Konopka is a writer, runner, mental health advocate, and trauma-informed teaching artist. Her debut novel, Pheidippides Didn’t Die (Manuscripts, 2023), earned honorable mention in the 2023 Writer’s Digest Self-Published E-Book Awards, and Kirkus calls the book “a compelling adult romance that captures the complexities of trauma dynamics.” A former poet laureate of Montgomery County, PA (2016), Autumn’s work has been published widely in literary journals, and her poetry chapbook, a chain of paper dolls, was published in 2014 by the Head & the Hand Press (Philadelphia). She holds a BA in English from the University of Pittsburgh and an MFA in poetry from Antioch University, Los Angeles. Dedicated to promoting the social, emotional, and mental health benefits of running, Autumn volunteers as an ambassador for Still I Run and as a coach for Girls on the Run. She lives with her family outside of Philadelphia. You can connect with Autumn at www.autumnkonopka.com, and at amkonopka (Instagram), autumnkonopka.author (Facebook), autumnkonopka (LinkedIn).

    • 15 June 2024
    • 2:00 PM - 5:00 PM
    • Online
    Register


    Join us for a replenishing afternoon featuring a delicious menu of Transformative Language Arts in poetry, memoir, stories, and song.

    Saturday, June 15, 2024 from 2-5 p.m. ET/ 1-4 p.m. CT/ 12-3 p.m. MT/ 11 a.m.-2 p.m. PT/ 6-9 p.m. UTC

    Enjoy yourself in a welcoming and vibrant community of other creatives. Everyone also gets an ample doggie bag of handouts, plus recipes for great dishes from famous writers, to bring home with them.

    Our banquet will be on Zoom, so you can attend from wherever you are without any need to dress up, find a place to park, or figure out what to order.

    This event is a fundraiser to help us expand our staff to better serve you and others who resonate with the power of words to spark positive change in our lives and the world.

    Your Menu

    Welcome and Be Our Guest with your host, Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg

    Amuse Bouche—A Taste of Poetry Aloud with Eric McHenry

    Enjoy poetry memorized and recited by Eric McHenry, former Kansas Poet Laureate, and reconnect with the wonder of learning and taking into your memory poems you love.

    Appetizers—Measured in Moments: A Taste of Micro-Memoir with Elizabeth Chelsa

    Micro-memoir invites you to tell a compelling personal story in under 300 words by focusing on a moment or memory that has shaped you. This taster course will briefly define the micro-memoir genre, share strategies for capturing snapshots in powerful prose, and provide a smorgasbord of prompts for crafting your own micros.

    Soup & Salad—Mindful Writing for Conscious Embodiment with Marianela Medrano

    Mindful Writing (MW) creates a bridge to healing the self. It facilitates the process of writing from and with the body, bringing attention from the neck down. Mindful Writing is an invitation to write in a less cerebral, intellectualized way, softening to the whispers of a body with the wisdom to guide us to conscious awareness. In Mindful Writing, we observe our behaviors and the cultural, political, and emotional/psychological structures we create. We watch our language and find the etiology of our attachments, beliefs, and views. With our Writing, we shine a light on the perspectives we hold and strive to see our shared humanity thru the lens of love, compassion, sympathetic joy, and equanimity.

    Entree—Rewriting Your Future with Lewis Mehl-Madrona

    Medical and psychological healing is easier when we can imagine where we want to go. People tend to wrestle over how to improve without clear images of the destination. We will explore techniques for creating images of healthy futures and then exploring how that future can draw us toward it. Is it possible that Coyote is right -- the future creates the past?

    Dessert—If Music Be the Food of Love: Savor the music of Joy Zimmerman in a short concert

    Sit back and savor the original songs of Joy Zimmerman with just the right balance of savory and sweet.

    Closing—Hugging Goodbye

    Bid your new friends adieu and we’ll send a doggie bag of handouts with you, including special recipes (yes, for real food) by famous writers.

    About Your Chefs

    A Taste of Poetry Aloud with Eric McHenry, former Kansas Poet Laureate

    Eric McHenry is the author of three books of poetry, most recently Odd Evening (Waywiser, 2016). His honors include the Kate Tufts Discovery Award, the Theodore Roethke Prize from Poetry Northwest, and a term as poet laureate of Kansas. His poems have appeared in The Threepenny Review, The New Republic, The Times Literary Supplement, Field, and The Yale Review. His prose appears in The American Scholar and The New York Times Book Review. He teaches English at Washburn University.

    Measured in Moments: A Taste of Micro-Memoir with Elizabeth Chelsa

    Elizabeth Lukács Chesla is the author of You Cannot Forbid the Flower (2023), a hybrid novella based on her father’s experiences in World War II and the 1956 Hungarian Revolution. The daughter of Hungarian refugees and a mother of three, she earned her MA from Columbia University and spent a decade teaching writing and literature in New York City before moving back home to the Philadelphia suburbs to raise her family. There she wrote books on reading, writing, and critical thinking skills for educational publishers; served as an editor for nonprofit organizations; taught online writing and literature courses for homeschoolers; became a yoga teacher specializing in support for hypermobility and trauma; and co-founded a weekly embodied writing group for women.She now leads writing and yoga workshops, develops humanities content for educational publishers, and serves as an editor for emerging authors. Her work has appeared in Quarter After Eight,The Tattooed Buddha, Another Chicago Magazine, and Flare, a flash fiction anthology. Learn more here.

    Mindful Writing for Conscious Embodiment with Marianela Medrano

    Dr. Marianela Medrano was born and raised in the Dominican Republic and has lived in Connecticut since 1990. A poet and a writer of nonfiction and fiction, she holds a Ph.D. in psychology and has published numerous poetry collections in English and Spanish. Her literary work has appeared in numerous anthologies and magazines in Latin America, Europe, and the United States. She is the founder of Palabra Counseling & Training Center, LLC. Her TEDTALK at Ursuline College speaks about her work and research on the Taino people: Embed: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8pQeBYd2oJk. Dr. Medrano is a certified Mindfulness Meditation teacher. She is a mentor/supervisor for the International Federation for Biblio/Poetry Therapy, IFBPT. In 2023, she was awarded a grant by the Bess Family Foundation to research interspecies care. She loves the earth and is committed to caring for the pluriverse until her last breath. Dr. Medrano has lectured in many countries, including Spain, India, Colombia, El Salvador, Panamá, the Dominican Republic, and Puerto Rico. Website, LinkedIn, Facebook,Youtube, Instagram.

    Rewriting Your Future with Lewis Mehl-Madrona

    Lewis Mehl-Madrona, MD, PhD is a faculty physician in the Northern Light Acadia Psychiatric Residency Program. He is also associated with the Family Medicine Residency at Northern Light in Bangor, Maine. He graduated from Indiana University, Stanford University School of Medicine, and completed his post-graduate medical training at the University of Vermont. He works with Coyote Institute, whose goal is to bring Indigenous wisdom to the larger world. His PhD is in neuropsychology.  He is the author of Coyote Medicine, Coyote Healing, Coyote Wisdom, Narrative Medicine, Healing the Mind through the Power of Story, and Remapping Your Mind: The Neuroscience of Self-Transformation through Story. His work focuses on the power of story, the neuroscience of story, and story as a tool for transformation. He keeps trying to transform psychiatry to be more humane and richer with stories.Coyote Institute, Coyote Institute Facebook page,Lewis’ website, Facebook page, or LinkedIn.

    If Music Be the Food of Love with Joy Zimmerman

    Joy Zimmerman cultivates joy as a touring folk singer-songwriter with a clear, rich voice. A former social worker, Joy brings audiences powerful, tender songs. Her two most recent albums debuted as Top Ten Albums of the Month on the Folk Alliance International (FAI) Folk Chart. Joy has received an Artist as Activist grant from the Mid-America Arts Alliance, ten Walnut Valley Music Festival NewSong Showcase wins, and Heartland Song Network Artist of the Month. You will often find Joy hiking in the woods with her wife or writing songs on her screened porch. Website | Facebook | Instagram | YouTube

    This fundraiser offers you a sliding scale of options. Please donate whatever you can to help us grow TLA. Thank you!

    Level I: $75 | Level II: $150 | Level III: $250


    • 19 June 2024
    • 30 July 2024
    • Online
    • 20
    Register


    If you’re a creative writer, whether you’re writing short stories already, planning a novel, or working on that memoir, then let me you ask you this:
    • Are you struggling with the kind creative blocks where the words are there, but you can’t write them or express them?
    • Are you feeling the need to write stories that offer more than just entertainment? Wanting to dig deeper into yourself to tell a compelling story, your own story? 
    • Are you wondering if it’s time to go beyond that veil we call the subconscious, time to understand the emotional dimensions of your senses, your thoughts, and your actions through storytelling?

    The Subconscious is the seat of repressed memories and hidden emotions. Imagery and symbolism are its language.  As humans we are the only species that resorts to storytelling to try to understand ourselves. Sometimes a story about a character’s anger or grief isn’t at all about that but is rather about their hidden shame.

    Everything has two poles, one apparent and another hidden. The journey towards healing and boundless creativity starts with this discovery. Characters in stories have patterns, desires, obstacles. What are those patterns trying to show or mirror?

    Good writing uses elements of craft to reflect the character shows and what they hide. We are going to explore the emotional maps that drive behavior, dialogue, desires, and conflicts of our characters in the stories we choose to tell. We’ll do that through using flash fiction (stories under 1000 words) to laser focus on emotions that drive patterns and actions.

    We'll produce 5 stories in this course.

    Week by Week

    Week One: Brief Introduction to Flash Fiction  We’ll understand why this medium is the most suitable for writing from the subconscious. We’ll also look at the basic structure of flash fiction, and why it’s so popular in this day and age as opposed to longer forms of storytelling. 

    Week Two: ( Show Don't Tell)  We’ll look at emotional resonance and understand what it means to write with purpose. We'll discover the map of emotions and emotional functions of the five senses and how to use literary devices to deliver and serve the emotional message in the story.

    Week Three: ( Character) We'll start looking at that which is hidden, at the core , layers, and masks our characters put on. We look at core needs and core commitments and how those influence the character’s perspective.  We’ll also look at the purpose of flashbacks and backstory.

    Week Four : (Perspective) Is all about point of view and the narrative voice. We'll explore how those needs and commitments shape perspective ( distance and intimacy)  creating the character's voice that influences  theme, mood, tone and narrative style.

    Week Five: ( Plot) We look at attachment patterns that drive the actions and reactions of our characters. We'll discover emotional movement? What it means to shift.

    Week Six: (Setting) We wrap up by exploring Setting. We'll look at ways to use setting as a mirror to what the character is going through. Setting is the context within which events take shape.

    Who Should Take This Class

    Novelists, memoirists, short story writers, coaches, TLAN artists, and therapists looking for innovative ways to help their patients or clients or anyone suffering from creative blocks. 

    Students should expect to spend 3 hours per week perusing resources and readings, engaging in several writing/creation prompts, and briefly responding to peers’ work. From our interactions, we sustain a welcoming and inspiring community together.

    Format

    This is an online class, hosted on the online teaching platform, Wet Ink, as well as Zoom. The Wet Ink platform allows students to log in on their own time to post comments and critiques directly to authors’ works. You can also view deadlines, track revisions, and watch video or listen to audio. At the end of the class, each student will receive an email that contains an archive of all their content and interactions. Wet Ink is mobile-friendly and their are no browser requirements.

    The course will include five optional zoom classes taking place Saturdays from 1:30-2:30 pm EST.  Because they are optional, the Zoom sessions will not be recorded.

    About the Facilitator

    Riham Adly is an award-winning flash fiction writer from Giza, Egypt. In 2013 her story “The Darker Side of the Moon” won the MAKAN award. She was short-listed several times for the Strand International Flash Fiction Contest. Riham is a Best of the NET and a Pushcart Prize nominee. Her work is included in the “Best Micro-fiction 2020” anthology. Her flash fiction has appeared in over fifty journals such as Litro Magazine, Lost Balloon, The Flash Flood, Bending Genres, The Citron Review, The Sunlight Press, Flash Fiction Magazine, Menacing Hedge, Flash Frontier, Flash Back, Ellipsis Zine, Okay Donkey, and New Flash Fiction Review among others. Riham has worked as an assistant editor in 101 words magazine and as a first reader in Vestal Review magazine. Riham is the founder of the “Let’s Write Short Stories” and “Let’s Write That Novel” in Egypt. She has taught creative writing all over Cairo for over five years with the goal of mentoring and empowering aspiring writers in her region. Riham’s flash fiction collection “Love is Make-Believe” was released and published in November 2021 by Clarendon House Publications in the UK.

    • 19 June 2024
    • 13 August 2024
    • Online
    • 20
    Register


    Discover how to craft more engaging stories and bring positive change.

    This course takes a multidisciplinary approach to storytelling. It integrates principles from psychology, communication studies, and cognitive neuroscience with the art of writing.

    Students will learn how good stories captivate audiences and put into practice easy-to-follow strategies to increase engagement and persuasion, facilitate understanding, and overcome the limits of memory and attention to prevent mental fatigue.

    Students will learn how to exploit our natural tendencies to capture attention and motivate continuance, how to overcome the limits of memory and cognition to prevent disengagement (i.e., finding a story boring or frustrating because it is hard to understand), and the relationship between engagement, enjoyment, and persuasion to provoke attitudinal change.

    Week by Week

    Week 1. Introduction. Hedonic and Eudaimonic Motivations.

    Explanation of what makes for a compelling story, how psychology can help fiction writers and the general scope of the course. Starting from the premise that engaging attention in a story is a continuous decision, I explain why we tend to prefer delicious over nutritious books. I propose that an author’s goal should be to write stories that are both delicious and nutritious works to satisfy consumers’ need for pleasure and meaning. I define story consumption as a goal-directed behavior, provide a formal definition for engagement, explain why we consume stories according to mood management theory, and how to satisfy the readers’ hedonic and eudaimonic motivations. I finish by highlighting the link between experiencing negative affect, engagement, and reaching a moved or meaningful state.

    • Discussion 1.1: Classic literature vs. Chick-Lit.
    • Discussion 1.2: The stories that changed you.

    Week 2. Decision Making and the Role of Emotions

    I propose seeing one’s story as a persuasive message to satisfy the readers’ eudaimonic motivations. I provide a formal definition of persuasion and attitude and discuss common barriers to persuasion as well as subjective determinants of intention (social judgment theory, the theory of reasoned action, and social cognitive theory). I explain how we make decisions and the role that emotions, heuristics, biases, and learned schemas play in decision-making. Following Mark’s general theory of behavior and Damasio’s somatic marker hypothesis, I propose that stories engage by disrupting psychological homeostasis first, then by becoming the only tool that will restore equilibrium. I also discuss the elaboration likelihood model and explain under which circumstances stories are the best way to induce attitudinal or behavioral change.

    • Discussion 2.1: Storytelling in advertising. Watch a series of ads formatted as stories and discuss their persuasive strategy.

    • Discussion 2.2: Your inciting incident Tell us about the event that will break harmony in your story and start a race to restore homeostasis.


    Week 3. Choosing the Best Route to Persuasion

    Students will learn under which circumstances it is best to format a persuasive message as a narrative, how to consider the recipient’s attitude function when developing a persuasive strategy, and why guilting and shaming don’t work as long-term persuasive strategies.

    • Discussion 3.1: Watch the videos of three different persuasive messages and discuss their possible efficacy.

    • Discussion 3.2: Formulate a persuasive strategy based on your target audience. 


    Week 4. Intrinsic Motivation and the Elements of Engagement

    I propose that to satisfy the readers’ hedonic motivations, narrative involvement should be seen as an intrinsically motivated behavior in terms of self-determination theory. I explain how engaging stories can satisfy the readers’ needs for autonomy, competence, and relatedness. I propose that to satisfy the readers’ need for autonomy and competence, a story must follow a structure similar to that of a game, as proposed by Flow Theory, with goals, challenges, and rules as the basic elements of engagement. Finally, I discuss how Lichtenberg’s motivational systems theory can explain how our natural urges modulate how we relate to a story.

    • Discussion 4.1: Go play an addictive game! Identify the basic elements of engagement and, thus, what all engaging activities have in common.

    • Discussion 4.2: Why will your recipients read your story? 

    • Discussion 4.3: Post a reflection on the motivational systems that modulate your characters’ decisions.


    Week 5. The Impact of Narrative Persuasion.

    I provide a formal definition of narrative persuasion and narrative transportation and explain how stories persuade in terms of social cognitive theory. I explain that the phenomenon of feeling transported into a story world is a consequence of the limits of cognition and selective attention. I discuss how knowledge acquired from media combined with our natural preference for the in-group and our tendencies to reduce the world to small categories and rely on generalizations modulate our beliefs about the world and, thus, the potentially harmful effect of negative stereotypes and aggression in media. I end with a series of recommendations to prevent mistakes made by storytellers in the past.

    • Discussion 5.1: Watch Videos on selective attention.

    • Discussion 5.2: Watch a series of videos and discuss how aggression in media and the use of harmful stereotypes can have real-life consequences.

    • Discussion 5.4: Discuss how to reduce the harmful effects of aggression and negative stereotypes in your own work.


    Week 6. Goals: Identification and Affective Dispositions.

    I propose that, unlike players who tend to accept whatever goal may be imposed by a game, story consumers must embrace the goals imposed by a story via identification with the story characters. I define identification and empathy and explain the difference between empathy and sympathy (i.e., compassion). Extending on affective disposition theory, I then explain the role of sympathy in defining our affective dispositions toward story characters and motivating engagement. Finally, I explain our paradoxical attraction to morally ambiguous and morally repulsive characters; how come we sometimes enjoy negative representations of the in-group in humor, following self-verification theory; and provide guidelines of how to create more authentic, relatable, flawed characters that readers will root for.

    • Discussion 6: Create an immoral yet sympathetic character.


    Week 7. Challenges: Flow, Conflict, and Enjoyment.

    I explain why conflict is necessary for engagement and enjoyment from a positive psychology perspective. I explain why experiencing positive affect depends on reducing negative affect and, therefore, the need for negative affect. I proceed to explain the function of conflict. Then, I reconcile flow theory with the dopamine prediction error hypothesis to explain why twists and turns resulting in sudden adjustments in our predictions and increased uncertainty promote engagement. I explain how boredom and frustration originate and why the sensation of fatigue they produce reduces engagement. I propose that enjoyment should be understood as a rewarding experience resulting from engaging in appetitive and consummatory behavior. I end the chapter by explaining why we enjoy sad stories.

    • Discussion 7: Create an outline that lists the story events, assigns them purpose and expected reader’s emotional response.


    Week 8. Rules, Memory, and Realism.

    I explain how self-imposed rules (e.g., setting, mood, and voice) can facilitate the writing process. After briefly reviewing the classifications of memory systems, I explain how to overcome memory limits to motivate learning and prevent disengagement. I explain why “show, don’t tell” is often a piece of terrible advice. I demonstrate how good “showing” results from appealing to non-declarative memories to mimic sensory perception and why bad “showing” (i.e., excessive dramatization) increases fatigue, reducing engagement. Finally, I explain how rules imposed by the audience, combined with rules established early by the writer, determine what the audiences perceive as realistic and how lack of realism prevents engagement.

    • Discussion 8.2: Landing your story. Post your story’s first few pages. Make sure you land readers properly in your story. The first few pages of your novel should let your readers know:
      • What will your story be about?
      • How will your story make readers feel? What will be the mood and tone?
      • Who is your narrator? (First or Third person. Third person limited or omniscient)
      • What "cassette" should the reader "load" to understand your story? For instance, genre, historical background, and semantic knowledge about a region or culture.
      • When and where your story is set? Is it set in the real world? A fantastic world? An alternate reality? If you fail to let us know that, readers will assume their contemporary reality.
      • What are your story's basic rules? For instance, the existence of the supernatural in your story, speculative science fiction, etc.

    Who Should Take This Class

    The course will be helpful to those interested in crafting more engaging stories, whether they write short stories, novels, or movie scripts. Since the course teaches not only how to engage but also how to persuade, the course can benefit anyone interested in provoking positive social change, like advertisers, educators, and social activists. The main focus is prose, but students can adapt what they learn to other media.

    Format

    Class lessons, assignments, discussion forums, and recorded videos from the instructor will be accessible via the Wet Ink platform. A few optional Zoom meetings will be scheduled with the students at the beginning of the course. Meetings will be recorded for students who cannot attend.

    About the Facilitator

    Carlos Allende Gonzalez has a Ph.D. in Media Psychology from Fielding Graduate University. He teaches The Psychology of Compelling Storytelling and Persuasive Writing in the Writers’ Program at UCLA Extension. His research focuses on narrative persuasion and narrative engagement. As Carlos Allende, he writes dark comedy and social satire. His newest book, Coffee, Shopping, Murder Love, won the 2019 Quill Prose Award from Red Hen Press. It came out in June 2022. You can connect with Carlos on Facebook  or LinkedIn.

    • 04 September 2024
    • 15 October 2024
    • Online
    • 14
    Register


    Creativity allows us to speak to who we are as individuals, and to our place in communities and in the world as a whole. How do we communicate these ideas though? There are some things that words can’t say, and others that visual art can’t. But when combining the two, we come up with creative pieces that more fully express our ideas and emotions. In this workshop we will explore our personal and collective identities through a series of readings, videos, and by using writing and art prompts. Participants will make creative pieces that combine visual art with words, using a variety of artistic mediums and writing techniques. Get your creative energies excited in this class! All levels welcome. 

    Week by Week

    Every week includes readings about the topic with discussion questions, along with multiple paired writing and visual art prompts focused on the topic of the week. Students are encouraged to engage with each others’ work, in addition to me as the facilitator providing feedback.

    Week 1 - Creativity and Self: Mark-Making and Making Our Mark

    • Introductions
    • Discussion of what creativity is and its importance in our lives
    • Meditative mark-making practices paired with reflective journaling

    Week 2 - Poetry, Place, and Self

    • Discussion of the importance of place and how it relates to individual and community identity
    • Personal map making paired with collaborative and individual poetry about place

    Week 3 - What We Carry: Identity Through Items

    • Reflection on the importance of items to our sense of self
    • Pattern-making with found items paired with odes and using repetition in writing

    Week 4 - Our Visible and Invisible Selves

    • Discussion of the parts of our selves we show versus keep hidden, and the parts of us society tries to hide, as well as ways we can make those parts seen
    • Intuitive art journaling paired with reflective writing

    Week 5 - The Body and Identity

    • Reflection on communicating the body through arts
    • Self-portraiture and self-portrait poem, including a collaborative writing piece

    Week 6 - Communicating and Collaborating Through Art: Ekphrastic Works

    • Discussion of how arts build community and how we can communicate with it
    • Ekphrastic art collaborative project
    • Thoughts on moving forward with creative practices

    Who Should Take This Class

    This class is ideal for anyone wanting to further explore their identity, or to find ways to communicate about themselves and their place in the world through artistic means. It may also be of interest to those wanting to build community. All levels of writers and artists are encouraged to take this class.

    Format

    Class lessons, assignments, and discussion forums will be accessible via the Wet Ink platform. There will also be recorded videos from the instructor each week posted in Wet Ink. We will meet once via Zoom to build community, share our work, and reflect on the experiences we had during this course. The Zoom meeting will be scheduled in conversation with students at the beginning of the course, and will be recorded for students who cannot attend.

    About the Facilitator

    Angie Ebba is a queer, disabled poet and essayist, an educator, and a performance artist. She has taught writing workshops and performed across the United States. Angie is published in the “Queering Sexual Violence” anthology, several literary magazines, and various online publications. She teaches writing in Portland, Oregon as well as online, and as in the beginning stages of writing a memoir. Angie believes strongly in the power of words to help us gain a better understanding of ourselves, to build connections and community, and to make personal and social change. You can find more about Angie at her website: rebelonpage.com

Past Classes

04 May 2024 How to Write About Life's Hard Stuff // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
07 January 2024 Building Connections to Create Sustainable Work in the Arts // with Caryn-Mirriam Goldberg & Kathryn Lorenzen
03 December 2023 Monologue Showcase: Voices for Healing & Transformation
23 October 2023 TLA Network Global Virtual Salon
09 September 2023 Wounds of Wisdom // with Anjana Deshpande
06 September 2023 Telling It Slant: The Art of Autofiction // with Elizabeth Chesla
06 September 2023 & They Call Us Crazy: Outsider Writing to Cross the Borders of Human Imagination // with Caits Meissner
06 September 2023 Liminal Spaces: The Poetry of Transitions and Change // with Angie Ebba
15 August 2023 TLA Network Virtual Global Salon
13 August 2023 Leading Transformative Writing Workshops // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
25 June 2023 TLA Network Virtual Salon
07 June 2023 Twelve Poets to Change Your Life // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
07 June 2023 Flash Fiction: Writing from the Subconscious // with Riham Adly
15 March 2023 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
27 January 2023 What Next? Launching Your Work in the World // with Caits Meissner
18 January 2023 This is Who I Am: Exploring Personal Identity through Poetry and Art // with Angie Ebba
18 January 2023 Flash Fiction Forms: Exploring Elements of Craft Through Archetypes & Metaphors in Dreams, Tarot, & Fairy Tales // with Riham Adly
18 January 2023 Pathways to Wholeness: Mindful Writing Toward Momentous Leaps of Meaning // with Marianela Medrano
04 December 2022 Re-Visioning TLA in the World: A Community Conversation
03 December 2022 Your Calling, Your Livelihood, Your Life: Making a Living from TLA // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Kathern Lorenzen
26 October 2022 Identity and Belonging: An Exploration through Visual Art and Creative Writing // with Renu Thomas
12 October 2022 Monologue Showcase: Voices for Healing & Transformation
15 September 2022 Flash Fiction Showcase & Open Mic with Riham Adly & Friends
14 September 2022 Beyond the Hero’s Journey: Exploring the Paths of the Heroine, Healer, and Seeker // with Kimberly Lee
07 September 2022 Your Memoir as Monologue - with Showcase: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation // with Kelly DuMar
15 June 2022 How Pictures Heal: Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
15 June 2022 Leverage Your TLA Expertise as a Social Arts Practice, for Community Engagement, & Radical Livelihood // with Yvette Hyater-Adams
18 May 2022 Flash Fiction: Writing from the Subconscious // with Riham Adly
20 April 2022 & They Call Us Crazy: Outsider Writing to Cross the Borders of Human Imagination // with Caits Meissner
09 April 2022 What Is Your Poem Begging to Look Like? Finding the Best Form Through Revision: How to Take Your Expressive Writing to the Next Level // with Fleda Brown
16 February 2022 Not Enough Spoons: Writing About Disability & Chronic Illness // with Angie Ebba
14 January 2022 The Quest of Purposeful Memoir: Exploring the Past, Creating the Future // with Jennifer Browdy, PhD
12 January 2022 Grief Pages: Moving Through Change and Loss with a Creative Notebook Practice // with Lisa Chu
17 November 2021 Pathways to Wholeness: Mindful Writing Toward Momentous Leaps of Meaning // with Marianela Medrano
10 November 2021 Kissing the Muse: A Messy, Magical, Art-Making Adventure // with Robbyn Layne McGill
28 October 2021 Monologue Showcase: Voices of Healing & Transformation
28 October 2021 2021 Power of Words Conference
15 September 2021 Your Memoir as Monologue with Showcase: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation // with Kelly DuMar
30 August 2021 For the Love of it: A Mindful Moment of Rejuvenation for Educators // with Joanna Tebbs Young
07 July 2021 Future Casting: Writing Towards a Just World Vision // with Caits Meissner
02 June 2021 The Art of Facilitation: Facilitating for Change & Community // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
17 May 2021 Tools for Teachers: Creating a Strong TLA Course Curriculum // with Liz Burke, EdD
26 April 2021 Tools for Teachers: Marketing Your TLA Class // with Liz Burke, EdD
18 April 2021 Monologue Showcase: Voices of Change
05 April 2021 Tools for Teachers: Creating a Strong TLA Course Proposal // with Liz Burke, EdD
24 March 2021 Tools for Teachers: Creating a Strong TLA Course Curriculum // with Liz Burke, EdD
24 February 2021 Tools for Teachers: Marketing Your TLA Class // with Liz Burke, EdD
03 February 2021 Tools for Teachers: Creating a Strong TLA Course Proposal // with Liz Burke, EdD
03 February 2021 Your Memoir as Monologue: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation // with Kelly DuMar
20 January 2021 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
06 January 2021 Kissing the Muse: (Another) Messy, Magical, Art-Making Adventure // with Robbyn Layne McGill
09 December 2020 TLA in Action: Connection, Collaboration, & Community
05 December 2020 Fireside Tales: A Virtual Camp In // with Lyn Ford
04 December 2020 A Virtual Greenhouse: Cultivating, Nurturing, and Sustaining Creative Growth through Literary Friendship
04 November 2020 Leverage Your Expertise as a Social Arts Practice, for Community Engagement, and Radical Livelihood // with Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams
28 October 2020 The Art of Facilitation: Roots and Blossoms of Facilitation // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
18 October 2020 Writing to this Moment: Taking Uncertainty to the Page // with Joanna Tebbs Young, MA-TLA
14 October 2020 Kissing the Muse: A Messy, Magical, Art-Making Adventure // with Robbyn Layne McGill
23 September 2020 How Pictures Heal: Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
05 August 2020 Pathways to Wholeness: Mindful Writing Toward Momentous Leaps of Meaning // with Marianela Medrano
24 June 2020 The Art of Facilitation: Facilitating for Change & Community // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
24 June 2020 & They Call Us Crazy: Outsider Writing to Cross the Borders of Human Imagination // with Caits Meissner
25 March 2020 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
25 March 2020 The Elemental Journey of Purposeful Memoir // with Jennifer Browdy, PhD
15 January 2020 Your Memoir as Monologue: Writing Monologues for Healing and Transformation // with Kelly DuMar
15 January 2020 The Art of Facilitation: Roots and Blossoms of Facilitation // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg & Joy Roulier Sawyer
23 October 2019 15 Poets to Change Your Life & Spark Your Writing // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
23 October 2019 Poems As Prayers: Writing Towards a Just World // with Caits Meissner
04 September 2019 Speaking Your Truth: Creative Writing in Political Times // with Angie Ebba
26 June 2019 15 Poets to Change Your Life & Spark Your Writing // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
24 April 2019 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
06 March 2019 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
16 January 2019 How Pictures Heal: Honoring Memory & Loss through Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
24 October 2018 Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
24 October 2018 Leverage Your TLA Expertise for Publication, Community, Business, and Livelihood // with Yvette Hyater-Adams
05 September 2018 Cultivating Our Voices: Writing Life Stories for Change // with Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens
05 September 2018 The Five Senses and Four Elements: Connecting With the Body and Nature Through Poetry // with Angie Ebba
27 June 2018 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennye Patterson
27 June 2018 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
27 June 2018 & They Call Us Crazy: Outsider Writing to Cross the Borders of Human Imagination // with Caits Meissner
16 May 2018 Values of the Future Through Transformative Language Arts // with Doug Lipman
04 April 2018 Stories with Spirit: Creativity as a Spiritual Practice // with Regi Carpenter
14 March 2018 Writing for Social Change: Redream a Just World // with Anya Achtenberg
21 February 2018 Funding Transformation: Grant Writing for Storytellers, Writers, Artists, Educators, & Activists // with Diane Silver
10 January 2018 Fantastic Folktales & Visionary Angles to Transform Our Stories // with Lyn Ford
18 October 2017 Writing Our Lives: The Poetic Self & Transformation // with Dr. Liz Burke-Cravens
18 October 2017 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
06 September 2017 Your Memoir as Monologue: How to Create Dynamic Dramatic Monologues About Healing and Transformation for Performance // with Kelly DuMar
06 September 2017 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennifer Patterson
14 June 2017 The Five Senses and Four Elements: Connecting with the Body and Nature Through Poetry // with Angie River
14 June 2017 The Poetics of Witness: Writing Beyond the Self // with Caits Meissner
19 April 2017 Diving and Emerging: Finding Your Voice and Identity in Personal Stories // with Regi Carpenter
01 March 2017 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs-Young
01 March 2017 How Pictures Heal: Honoring Memory & Loss through Expressive Writing from Personal Photos // with Kelly DuMar
11 January 2017 Values of the Future Through Transformative Language Arts // with Doug Lipman
11 January 2017 Writing from the Root & Through the Body // with Marianela Medrano
11 January 2017 Your Callings, Your Livelihood, Your Life // With Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
26 October 2016 Leverage Your TLA Expertise for Publication, Community, Business, and Livelihood // with Yvette Angelique Hyater-Adams
26 October 2016 Not Enough Spoons: Writing About Disability & Chronic Illness // with Angie River
14 September 2016 Wound Dwelling: Writing the Survivor Body(ies) // with Jennifer Patterson
14 September 2016 Creating a Sustainable Story: Self-Care, Meaningful Work, and the Business of Creativity // with Laura Packer
29 June 2016 Coming Home to Body, Earth, and Time: Writing From Where We Live // with Caryn Mirriam-Goldberg
29 June 2016 Making the Leap into Work You Love // with Scott Youmans
18 May 2016 Saturated Selfies: Intentional and Intense Photography and Writing
18 May 2016 Changing the World with Words: TLA Foundations // with Joanna Tebbs Young
28 March 2016 Gathering Courage: Still-Doing, Big Journaling, and Other (Not So Scary) Ways to Begin Accommodating the Soul
15 February 2016 Living Out Loud: Healing Through Storytelling and Writing
15 February 2016 Soulful Songwriting: How To Begin, Collaborate, And Finish Your Song
04 January 2016 The Five Senses and the Four Elements: Connecting with the Body and Nature Through Poetry
04 January 2016 Your Memoir as Monologue: How to Create Dynamic Dramatic Monologues About Healing and Transformation for Performance

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